This isn't Woody Allen's first time dealing with escapism and fantasy, but it still remains refreshing to new and old audiences' of his. In 1972 he wrote and starred in Play It Again, Sam, which is my favourite Allen movie simply because it is his funniest and portrays his love for cinema. Midnight In Paris is another Allen nostalgia package, but concentrates on literary artists rather than movie icons such as Humphrey Bogart. His latest film is also very funny, regardless if you are familiar with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, T.S. Elliot, Picaso etc... It is the artists of Paris in the 1920s that are handing out the advice rather than the stars of 1940s Hollywood.
What is so brilliant about Allen's new venture is how the movie was promoted, there was no spoiler in the trailer so the audience had no idea what to expect and was just as surprised as Owen Wilson's character Gil, a recyclable Hollywood writer, who is successful, but unsatisfied. He and his to be wife, Inez (Rachel McAdams) are on vacation in Paris with Inez' parents, a pair of strict republicans. Gil is inspired by the city and its artistic history, while Inez and her family see it as a place to shop, wine and dine and thats it. There is obvious tension between the couple, which is enhanced when the pretentious Paul shows up, "and if I'm not mistaken" played by Michael Sheen.
After a day trapped with Paul and Inez, Gil decides to take a stroll, which ends up been a time portal at the stroke of midnight and he finds himself in 1920s Paris with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Ernest Hemingway. When Gil finally, after humorous questioning, realizes that he is in fact not insane, he is like a kid on Christmas. Owen Wilson plays the Woody character perfectly, he's neurotic, shy, excitable and so enthusiastic in his role.
Even if you have no interest in that period in Paris or the artists involved, this movie can relate to anyone, who desires to have lived in a different era whether it be the 60s San Francisco, 70s Hollywood or Renaissance Italy. Allen, through Gill, elaborates about how everyone in their particular era wants to live through a different time and culture, but it would never really pan out the way you want it to. Still Allen makes it fun to try.
Woody Allen is already a legend in cinema, but he continues to make films with his signature humour and style that we have come to love. He is always picking at the fabric of society and relationships, the way we act, our culture and mannerisms and he is never afraid to do express it through fantasy. For a small Jewish nerd, he has always stood his ground in making films the way he wants to regardless of what studios or audiences think.